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Daily Mail

Roman Abramovich ‘met freed British POWs on luxurious personal jet from Russia to Saudi Arabia’


Former Chelsea proprietor Roman Abramovich met 5 British prisoners of battle who had been freed after six months by the hands of Putin’s forces on a luxurious personal jet from Russia to Saudi Arabia – and even gave them iPhones so they may name their households, it emerged final night time. 

The 5 hostages made an emotional return to UK and ate steak, canapes and tiramisu with the Russian oligarch, based on reviews.

After months of imprisonment, torture and concern of execution, Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner, Dylan Healy, Andrew Hill and John Harding had been lastly reunited with their family members.  

Mr Harding, who appeared exhausted however elated as they arrived within the UK, instructed the Sun: ‘[Abramovich] was a sound bloke, a very beautiful man. He is a legend — we completely love him and I am so grateful for his efforts.’

The daddy-of-two additionally claimed the Russian billionaire, 55, tried to make the previous captives snug and so they joked to Abramovich – who mentioned he would promote Chelsea on March 2, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – that Mr Pinner is a West Ham fan who chatted to him about soccer. 

The captives had spent the earlier two days in transit, first being pushed sure and blindfolded from jap Ukraine to an unknown vacation spot in Russia. They had been then flown to Saudi Arabia the place they obtained medical consideration and had been met by British consular officers earlier than a British Airways flight introduced them house, the place their delighted family had been ready.

John Harding, Shaun Pinner (centre) and Aiden Aslin had been pictured smiling as they flew on a aircraft from Russia to Saudi Arabia after being freed right this moment

Mr Aslin arrived at his mother’s house in Newark, Nottinghamshire, around 2pm. The former care worker had spent five months behind bars, during which time he was stabbed by prison guards and endured mock executions

Roman Abramovich met British POWs who faced the threat of a Russian firing squad in Ukraine on a luxury private jet from Russia to Saudi Arabia and gave them iPhones so they could call their families, it's been reported this evening

Roman Abramovich (proper) met British POWs who confronted the specter of a Russian firing squad in Ukraine on a luxurious personal jet from Russia to Saudi Arabia and gave them iPhones so they may name their households, it has been reported this night. Mr Aslin (left) arrived at his mom’s home in Newark, Nottinghamshire, round 2pm. The previous care employee had spent 5 months behind bars, throughout which era he was stabbed by jail guards and endured mock executions

Before his capture, Mr Aslin frequently posted on Instagram from the frontline, using the profile 'cossackgundi'. The account was run by a friend and remained active while he was imprisoned in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine

Earlier than his seize, Mr Aslin ceaselessly posted on Instagram from the frontline, utilizing the profile ‘cossackgundi’. The account was run by a buddy and remained lively whereas he was imprisoned in Donetsk, jap Ukraine

Mr Harding added: ‘I did not even discover however Shaun mentioned it regarded like him. He went over to him on the aircraft and requested the place he was from and Roman mentioned ‘London’.

‘Then Shaun mentioned, ‘You actually appear like Roman Abramovich’ and he replied, ‘That is as a result of I’m him, sir’. He could not consider it. I joked that Shaun is a West Ham fan and all of us laughed.’

Abramovich, who’s believed to have helped support the discharge, talked soccer whereas they ate on the flight from Russia to Riyadh. The 55-year-old was sanctioned by the UK Authorities on March 10, with Downing Road claiming that it had confirmed his hyperlinks to Vladimir Putin. 

Mr Harding additionally claimed he spoke to the Russian oligarch’s assistant who mentioned ‘performed a key half in getting’ the Brits again. 

Mr Harding, Mr Pinner and Mr Aslin are believed to have served within the Georgian Legion, a pro-Ukrainian volunteer unit, underneath Mamuka Mamulashvili.

‘All these guys did their finest to defend democracy and freedom,’ Mr Mamulashvili instructed the PA information company.

‘They had been within the Georgian Legion at roughly the identical time… and so they had been excellent guys.

‘It was crucial for us to get these guys out of captivity as a result of I have been in captivity myself and I do know what it’s.’

Paul Urey (pictured), 45, from Warrington, died in detention earlier this year amid concerns he had been tortured by Russian separatists

Paul Urey (pictured), 45, from Warrington, died in detention earlier this yr amid considerations he had been tortured by Russian separatists

Mr Mamulashvili singled out Mr Harding, a veteran of the British Military, for his contribution to the legion, the place he skilled youthful volunteers as an teacher. ‘He is without doubt one of the finest representatives of his nation who got here right here to defend Ukraine and I give him my respect,’ he mentioned.

Dominik Byrne, co-founder of the organisation, mentioned: ‘We do not know precisely in the event that they’ve all returned again to their houses but, however we do know they’re with households in the intervening time.’ 

Non-profit organisation the Presidium Community, which has supported the household of Mr Healy, instructed PA that every one 5 had landed safely within the UK and been reunited with their households.

Mr Aslin arrived at his mom’s home in Newark, Nottinghamshire, round 2pm. The previous care employee had spent 5 months behind bars, throughout which era he was stabbed by jail guards and endured mock executions.

He instructed reporters: ‘I’ve been via a traumatic expertise and I simply need to get into my home. I additionally need to thank everybody who helped safe our launch, particularly president [Volodymyr] Zelensky and the Saudis.’

Mr Aslin was accompanied by his Ukrainian fiancée Diana and his brother Nathan.

His mom Angela Wooden mentioned: ‘We’re so relieved to have Aiden house. I’ve not slept all night time. Aiden wants time to get well. We’ve got all had a very lengthy day.’

Mr Aslin’s grandmother Pamela Corridor added: ‘I have not slept for twenty-four hours. That is superb information. We’re so comfortable.’

Shaun Pinner (left) and Aiden Aslin (right), who had been serving in the Ukrainian marines, were captured by Putin's troops in the city of Mariupol in April. The pair have both now been released

Shaun Pinner (left) and Aiden Aslin (proper), who had been serving within the Ukrainian marines, had been captured by Putin’s troops within the metropolis of Mariupol in April. The pair have each now been launched

The list of prisoners released includes five British nationals, two Americans, one Swede, one Croat and one Moroccan. Pinner is pictured in the orange shirt with Aslin on his left after landing in Riyadh

The record of prisoners launched contains 5 British nationals, two People, one Swede, one Croat and one Moroccan. Pinner is pictured within the orange shirt with Aslin on his left after touchdown in Riyadh

Pinner (right) and Aslin (left) were sentenced to death, along with Moroccan Saaudun Brahim (centre) in June this year by a pro-Russian separatist court

Pinner (proper) and Aslin (left) had been sentenced to demise, together with Moroccan Saaudun Brahim (centre) in June this yr by a pro-Russian separatist court docket

Aslin (pictured) seemed in good spirits as he was checked over by medics after his release from detention earlier today

Aslin (pictured) appeared in good spirits as he was checked over by medics after his launch from detention earlier right this moment

Posts on social media by Mr Aslin’s associates yesterday urged he had been stabbed and crushed whereas in captivity. His face had appeared swollen and bruised in video recordings of his interrogation by Russian forces.

The hostages additionally suffered psychological torture. They had been instructed, ‘say goodbye to your households, you are going to be killed’.

Earlier than his seize, Mr Aslin ceaselessly posted on Instagram from the frontline, utilizing the profile ‘cossackgundi’. The account was run by a buddy and remained lively whereas he was imprisoned in Donetsk, jap Ukraine.

Final night time a put up on the account learn: ‘I had my first telephone name with Aiden in about 5 months this afternoon.

‘He sounds superb, and is filled with vitality. What he went via was worse than what I believed. He lived as much as his favorite Winston Churchill quote, ‘if you happen to’re going via hell, preserve going’. It’s a new day and an excellent one. Aiden is free! Our boys are free! Ukraine and her folks will at all times be free! Thanks everybody on your help, from Aiden and me.’

Mr Aslin’s shut buddy, and comrade in a Ukrainian marine unit, Shaun Pinner, returned to his mom’s home in Luton, Bedfordshire, yesterday.

Aiden Aslin's mum Ang Wood arrives home in Balderton, Newark, earlier today following her son's return to Britain via Saudi Arabia

Aiden Aslin’s mum Ang Wooden arrives house in Balderton, Newark, earlier right this moment following her son’s return to Britain through Saudi Arabia

Britons Andrew Hill and Dylan Healy alongside Croatian Vjekoslav Prebeg during a court hearing in the Russian-held region of Donetsk last month

Britons Andrew Hill and Dylan Healy alongside Croatian Vjekoslav Prebeg throughout a court docket listening to within the Russian-held area of Donetsk final month

Mr Aslin spoke of his 'traumatic experience' as he was reunited with family back at home in Balderton, Nottinghamshire, this afternoon

Mr Aslin spoke of his ‘traumatic expertise’ as he was reunited with household again at house in Balderton, Nottinghamshire, this afternoon

Aiden Aslin (left) and Shaun Pinner (right) and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim (centre) pictured during a sentencing hearing in the so-called Supreme Court of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic

Aiden Aslin (left) and Shaun Pinner (proper) and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim (centre) pictured throughout a sentencing listening to within the so-called Supreme Court docket of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Individuals’s Republic

British national John Harding, who was captured by pro-Russian forces, sitting inside a dock at a court in Donetsk last month

British nationwide John Harding, who was captured by pro-Russian forces, sitting inside a dock at a court docket in Donetsk final month

Tired and smiling, ex-British Army soldier Mr Pinner (second from right) was finally reunited with his family back in the UK today following months of detention in Ukraine

Drained and smiling, ex-British Military soldier Mr Pinner (second from proper) was lastly reunited along with his household again within the UK right this moment following months of detention in Ukraine

His jubilant step-father Lyndon Worth mentioned: ‘He has simply bought house. We picked him up from the airport this morning. All of the households had been there and, as you possibly can, think about it was very emotional.

Cassandra Pinner has spoken of her family's delight that her brother Shaun has been released

Cassandra Pinner has spoken of her household’s delight that her brother Shaun has been launched

‘Shaun has been via quite a bit. We’re very, very comfortable he’s house. It’s implausible information. We’re all collectively, Shaun’s son, my spouse and Shaun’s sister.

‘I’ve simply given him a shave. I took all his beard off for him. He’s properly and appears advantageous. He’s so happy to be house.

‘What Shaun has gone via is not for the faint-hearted. He is drained, he is had a few beers. He’ll have steak and purple wine tonight and he’s trying ahead to that.’

In keeping with their households, the hostages had been unaware of the negotiations supposed to safe their launch. As a part of the identical deal, a whole lot of captured Ukrainian and a handful of Russian troops had been let loose.

Saudi Arabia acted as an middleman between the governments of every nation.

Remarkably, Mr Pinner is just not ruling out a return to Ukraine.

Mr Worth added: ‘At some stage, I feel he’ll need to return. He loves Ukraine. He may need to become involved in humanitarian work. His spouse continues to be there too, we hope to get her over right here.’

Mr Pinner, a former soldier within the Royal Anglian Regiment, enlisted within the Ukrainian armed forces in 2018. He was despatched to the frontline within the jap area, referred to as the Donbas, and was captured by Russian forces within the southern port metropolis of Mariupol in April this yr.

In an announcement launched by the International Workplace, Mr Pinner’s household mentioned: ‘We wish to thank all people concerned in Shaun’s launch, particularly all on the International Workplace, Liz Truss and her workforce, Boris Johnson and (Ukrainian) President (Volodymyr) Zelensky.

‘Shaun would additionally wish to thank the hospitality of the Saudi Authorities and Prince Mohammed bin Salman al Saud who additionally assisted within the negotiations for his freedom.

‘It is a very emotional time as you possibly can anticipate and we’re unable to presently talk about so early in his launch any particulars absolutely. It has been a harrowing time for Shaun and our household which has now had such a contented decision. Shaun is in good spirits and nonetheless has his sense of humour intact. He’s trying ahead to steak and a glass of purple wine tonight.

‘We are actually having fun with some household time and would respect the privateness at this second.’

Prime Minister Ms Truss, who was visiting New York for a UN summit, tweeted: ‘Massively welcome information that 5 British nationals held by Russian-backed proxies in jap Ukraine are being safely returned, ending months of uncertainty and struggling for them and their households.’ 

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